Saturday, September 20, 2008

Speed Racer Review

Speed Racer is young and talented driver following in his older brother Rex Racer's footsteps. We learn this in the jarringly edited beginning of the film, which jumps between a young Speed hanging out with Rex on the track and the present Speed in a race. Speed wins the race, but deliberately slows down at the end so as not to break his presently deceased brother's time.

Afterward, big businessman Mr. Royalton shows up and brings the Racer family to his headquarters, where he offers to buy Racer Motors and make Speed a driver for the Royalton team. When Speed refuses, Royalton reveals that racing has become a part of business, and that races in the World Racing League are fixed.

Speed is later recruited by Inspector Detector and the mysterious Racer X to race for Togokhan's team in an effort to expose corruption in the WRL and bring Royalton down. And in doing so, Speed learns his reason for driving...

I'll be honest; I had low expectations for this one. The anime was pretty cheesy back in the day, and with the overly colorful CGI world the Watchowski's created the movie was poised to be even cheesier. The movie was also clearly targeted at a young audience, despite the occasional swear. And the Mach 5 didn't get nearly as much time as the movie-original Mach 6. But while the movie was no masterpiece, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't all that bad, either. The racing, especially the T-180 tracks, was a little over the top, but no cornier than the TV show, and certainly fun to watch. The hammy acting was even reminiscent of the old cartoon. And in that respect, I think the Watchowski's actually succeeded in making a movie that kids can enjoy, but that older fans of Speed Racer can enjoy as well.

Ultimately maybe not a movie you'd want to own for your collection, but I'd say it's worth a rental. As long as you don't expect much from it, you might even find yourself surprised to like it.

Final Score: C+

No comments: